Monday, April 30, 2012

#photoadayapril recap

I had so much fun participating in this challenge last month that I participated again in April.  I was less inspired this month but still managed to snap a photo each day.  Some I love some I don't care for but the challenge is making me thing about photography every day, so I'll be joining in again in May {although this will be significantly more difficult since I will be in the States and my iPhone doesn't work there...I'll make it work when I'm connected to wi-fi}.

Here are the photos from April.  

Day1 {reflection}

Day2 {color}

Day3 {mail}

Day4 {someone who makes you happy} 

Day5 {tiny}

Day6 {lunch}

Day7 {shadow}

Day8 {inside your wallet} 

Day9 {younger you} 

Day10 {cold}

Day11 {where you ate breakfast}

Day12 {stairs} 

Day13 {something you found}

Day14 {how you feel}  

Day15 {sunset}

Day16 {flower}

Day17 {something you don't like} 

Day18 {hair} 

Day19 {orange}

Day20 {something you drew} 

Day21 {bottle}

Day22 {the last thing you bought} 

Day23 {vegetable} 

Day24 {something you're grateful for} 

Day25 {looking down}

Day26 {black & white} 

Day27 {somewhere you went} 

Day28 {1pm} 

Day29 {circle}

Day30 {something that makes you sad}

Do you have a favorite?

Did you participate last month?

Will you be participating this month?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

great weekend

Every single weekend this month has been MISERABLE!  It will be nice all week and as soon as Friday rolls around, the temp drops and the rain begins.  It's been awful!  Finally this weekend, we had PERFECT weather and we took advantage of it to the fullest!

Friday it rained all day but cleared up just in time for dinner so we headed to the local sushi-go-round with one of our favorite couples, the Robs.

When we 1st started going to this sushi-go-round, I got hooked on a certain plate of sushi.   I haven't seen this particular sushi in over a year though.  Every time I go, I look for it, but I never see it.  I don't know what it's called, therefore I can't order it.  So you can imagine my excitement when the friends we were with ordered some sushi and out came THE sushi I have been looking for for over a year now!

I still have no clue what it's called but I now have a photo to show the sushi chef {or I could just ask one of my students to tell me the name of this}.   After sushi, we came back to our house to play a few games.

Saturday, Jason and I went to the local Home Depot/Bed Bath & Beyond store called Viva Home.  We needed to pick up a runner for our hallway so Buster can walk without sliding around like he's on a sheet of ice and some herbs/veggies for our "garden".
We settled on basil, rosemary, thyme and tomatoes and okra {Jason INSISTED on okra}.  I can't wait to have enough tomatoes and basil to make tomato sauce and bruschette!

That evening we had our first neighborhood BBQ of the year.

We are so blessed to have some wonderful neighbors!  I'm looking forward to a summer full of great BBQ's!

Sunday we attended church then brunch at the community club on base {thanks to some free tickets, we don't usually fork out $18/person for a mediocre meal}.  After brunch, we headed out on our bikes.

I love my new cruiser...except when I have to go up hill and only have one gear!  I'm really hoping our next base is in a flat area!

We went to a park and tossed a softball for a while but mostly just rode around town enjoying the beautiful weather.

We topped off our wonderful weekend with what has become one of my favorite Japanese meals, udon and tempura

and a pretty good earthquake.  A weekend in Japan couldn't be complete without a little shake!

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

great experience

The Army runs a pretty neat program here at Camp Zama where every quarter 10 or so Japanese soldiers are selected to come live at Camp Zama for 2-3 months.  I don't know the specific requirements but from what I hear it is pretty selective and the Japanese soldier has to speak some level of English.  Each Japanese co-op is matched with an American Soldier whom they shadow while they are here.  They also attend training and meetings here.  The co-ops {Japanese soldier} and their sponsors {American soldier} attend social events and are encouraged to socialize outside of official functions.

Last month, Jason was approached and asked if he would like to sponsor a co-op this quarter.  Even though he is incredibly busy as the company commander, the specific co-op they wanted to match him with was an Engineer officer and since there are so few of those here at Zama, Jason agreed.  At first I thought he was crazy to say yes {our time together is limited as is} but knowing my husband, I can't say I was surprised.  Now that we're 3 weeks into the program, I am so glad that Jason agreed to do this.  Jason's co-op, Hama, is great.  Jason was blessed with a great co-op!

One day last week, while my mom was here, Jason called me around 1730 and told me that he had invited his co-op and 2 of the other co-ops {Taku & Nita} to dinner.  At our house.  In an hour.  With my mom's help, we were able to have the house clean and a tradition American BBQ on the table in time.  Since then we've had dinner with Hama once more and I've taken the 3 of them to the commissary which was a ton of fun.  It was so interesting to see someone experience an American grocery store for the 1st time.  For the most part our grocery stores are very similar but there are some differences.  Like the bulk isle in an American grocery store.  1 gallon jugs of barbecue sauce don't exist in Japan {that I know of}.  They also don't sell cans of Coke by the case like we do.  The only way I've ever seen Coke for sale in a Japanese grocery store is by the liter.

Tonight, Hama {and the guys} came over to our house and cooked a traditional Japanese meal using ingredients that are famous in his hometown

the meal was absolutely delicious!

 I am so grateful to Hama for cooking for us and sharing this dish with us.  

Jason adding another thing to his schedule is so worth it to get to know these guys 
{Taku, Hama, Nika, Jason}

I'm really bummed that I will be spending 5 of the weeks that they are here in the US.  I have loved the time we have spent with these guys and I wish I could be here for more time with them.  My life is better because of this experience!

If any of you who are reading this ever find yourself at Camp Zama and are ever offered the opportunity to participate in this program, I say go for it! {or any other international base that may have a similar program} Yes it is more work for the soldier but everyone involved benefits tremendously {IMO}.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

back to life, back to reality

Any En Vogue fans sing along to the title of this post?!??   Anyone?  No?  It's cool, I know I'm getting old ;-}

My mom left and life went back to it's normal crazy self.  Within hours of her departure, my husband dropped a BOMB on me.  There is a job opening that he is interested in that would have us leaving Japan MUCH sooner that we were planning.  Apparently it is competitive so we don't even know what our chances are of actually getting the position, but there is some chance.  For now, we're praying about it and we'll just have to wait to see what happens.

Then I started seriously considering my next trip home for my brother's wedding in June. We have been debating on whether I should Space A {try to fly on a military flight for free} or pay $1500+ for a ticket or use miles.  We finally decided to use ALL of our miles so that I can travel on the days I want to.  With that, I decided to head to Cincinnati about 10 days earlier than I was originally planning on.  There are somethings going on back in the US that I want to be there for {mainly a show by the awesome Ernie Halter & Tyrone Wells and one of my BFF's 30th birhtday}.  I'm excited about it but also a little freaked out that I leave in 2 weeks!!!!

Last weekend, my husband and I had a much needed night out.  We made plans to attend a formal dinner at the Navy run hotel in Tokyo.  It was nice to get all dolled up ...Jason was even kind enough to help me style my hair that evening!

and enjoy a very delicious dinner with some friends.

Unfortunately, I was a little more daring than I should have been and tried some foods that my body isn't used to eating and it left me feeling pretty awful the next day.  At least next time I know to stick with the foods my body is familiar with!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mom's visit {Sakura}

In an attempt to not overwhelm you with photos in my last 2 posts, I decided to do a separate post about the Japanese cherry blossoms, or sakura.  The blooming of the sakura is a very important time of the year in Japan.  It is seen as a new beginning, a time to celebrate new life and new opportunities.  The school year in Japan begins at the beginning of April, not in August like it does in the US.  Also, many people move and start new jobs at the end of March/beginning of April, when the cherry blossoms are blooming.  Last year I was not here for cherry blossom season so I was very excited to see them this year.  The fact that my mom's trip timed perfectly with their blooming made it even more exciting!

Here are a few of my favorite cherry blossom photos from the past few weeks